The Sailor's Stories

1011 Chapter eleven – The Sailor’s Awakening.

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It never ceased to amaze me just how much food a boy can eat. Take Corey for example, I had just watched him eat his way through two bowls of cereal, and half a pack of bagels. If it wasn’t for the fact that the baseball season was starting soon, I would really quite worry about his eating habits. I don’t think he noticed me watching him, though I did have the advantage of the newspaper to hide behind, he was just so intent on his morning meal. One never knows though however, as I know just how observant my boys are, even if they did play dumb sometimes. To be honest, I was beginning to wonder where the other two had gotten to.  It didn’t matter really, as we had no hard and fast rules on the weekend, or the school holidays. Things would change slightly when the season started, but until then the boy’s time was their own.

When the boys had started elementary school, I had taken to dropping them off on my way to work. Our schedules were similar, so it just made sense, plus I think they liked that we always shared the morning ritual of breakfast and the drive. To be honest I enjoyed it as well. But weekends were a different story, especially Saturdays, I let them come and go as they pleased…, as long as their homework was done of course. Dale was never an issue there, but Corey took some work occasionally.

“What?”

“Hmm…?”

“Uncle Cam you’re being weird.”

“What do you mean?”

”You’re kinda staring at me.”

It seemed that without realizing it, I had folded the paper onto the table. At his comment I found myself sitting there with both hands on my mug, and I was indeed staring at him.

“Was I? I’m sorry.., I was just thinking about stuff. Don’t worry about it.”

“Whatever.” He said as he smothered so much cream cheese on the bagel, that it was threatening to fall off the side.

I marveled once more, as he ever so delicately tried to get it into his mouth without making a mess.

“So who was that girl I saw you with the other day?”

“Who Sam…, oh…, she’s just a…, a friend.” He said as he stuffed the last piece of that overfilled bagel into his mouth, and got up taking his plate to the sink.

“Just…, you seemed pretty close, to me?”

“I dunno…, did we?”

Ah the classic ploy when you don’t want to answer a question…, ask one of your own.

“Hey it’s cool little kiddo…, if you don’t want to talk about it, that’s up to you.”

“It’s not that, I just…, I don’t know…”

“Do you like her?”

“Yeah I guess…, she’s pretty cool, and she can really skate, you should see some of the tricks she can do…, it’s really sick.”

“Ah…, is that a good or a bad thing?”

“It’s a good thing Uncle Cam.” He said with a mocking smirk.

“Well why don’t you ask her over for dinner sometime?”

“I’ll think about it…”

“Ask who for dinner?”

At that I felt a small pair of arms slide around my neck, and a soft kiss to the cheek. I turned my head to see Dale smiling at me.

“Wow…, you’re affectionate this morning.”

He looked a little taken aback…, as if he just realized what he had done and his cheeks flushed a little more than they already had been. I looked at him deeply, catching something on the breeze from the open window. Before I knew what I was doing, my head snapped to Carl, who had taken a seat at the end of the table, having followed Dale in. He could see it in my face, and I saw a flash of fear run over his. It was short lived though as I had told them before, I didn’t care, but I certainly didn’t want it thrust in my face. Not to mention if Corey caught on, it would be near impossible to convince him out of a course of action that had far more serious consequences.

Luckily though, not wanting to continue our conversation, Corey had slipped out of the kitchen. Like a thief in the night, using his brother’s actions as cover. Clever boy, I thought to myself as I turned my attention back to the other two…

“I don’t want to know why you took so long to come down, but next time you might want to shower first.”

“What do you mean Uncle Cam?”

He may have sounded innocent, but I could hear and see the slight tremor. He was valiantly trying to hide the fact though, by pouring cereal not too successfully into his bowl. Carl just sat there terrified.

“Come on ‘Short Stack’, you know exactly what I am talking about. What you get up to is your business, but the way you are carrying on makes it pretty obvious. Your brother is not stupid, if he had stuck around he would have figured it out, and I don’t want to have that conversation with him, when he wants to do the same with some girl…, alright?”

“I’m so sorry Cam…, we shouldn’t have…”

“No Carl it’s alright…, honestly, just be more careful…, ok?”

“Ah…,”

“Eat your breakfast.” I said.

I got up, cleared my dishes to the sink and went out to the yard. As I went through the door, I took a quick glance back and saw Carl near to tears. Dale was on it quickly though, placing his arm around him. Thinking about it, I was actually rather angry. I had never had need to be angry at the boys before, and this disturbed me. Sure I had been pissed off, but never angry. I had to calm down, so I let my feet lead me down to the beach.

“Pass me that wrench, would you son?”

I hadn’t noticed it, but I guess after the morning I needed it. Funny how the mind works…, one second I had been strolling towards the beach, then the next I was sitting in the engine bay of dad’s boat…

“Sure dad.”

“So what’s on your mind son?”

Once I had finished telling him, he just went back to his engine. The PTO feed to the bilges, that I had gotten fixed years ago, had always given him trouble. After a few moments he came back with…

“Well it’s not like you and Mark were any different.”

“What… how did you..?”

He was laughing heartily, and it was like a balm to my ears, I so missed that laugh…

“Son come on…, you two were pretty obvious…, and besides I am in your mind remember.”

“Touché Pop, touché, but even so…”

“Son don’t be daft, your mother and I loved you just as much as you love those boys…, yes even the new one. I know you are mad, but let’s be honest…, you aren’t really mad at them, are you?

“No I guess not…, but dad it’s different now, not like when I was growing up…, kids just do things faster these days. I’m worried about them.”

“I would think me a poor father, for raising someone who didn’t, but they can’t stay boys forever, they need to make their own mistakes…, just like you did. And they need to do what is right for them…, just like you did.”

With that he faded away, he always seemed to do that just at the right time.

As I turned back towards the house, I saw a small figure tucked tightly into himself, sitting on the steps that led from the path to the beach. When I approached he looked up to me, his face covered in anguish, mixed with a layer of finality. I looked down at him momentarily emotionless; I wasn’t sure what he wanted from me. In an instant I smiled, and he replied with a weak one of his own. I sat down next to him and put my arm across his shoulders. I held him close for a moment or two…, then he spoke…

“I’ve really messed up haven’t I…, you probably hate me now…, you want me to leave right…?”

“What? No! Carl no, I don’t hate you, I could never hate you, and no I don’t want you to leave. What made you think that?”

“When you left you were so angry, I could see it in your eyes…, like…, dad…” He said as he broke apart, his body shaking with his tears.

I pulled him tighter into me, and he wrapped his arms around me in a fear felt hug, as if he was afraid to let go.  It was then I realized just how fragile this young man was, and how so desperate for a loving father figure. It tore me up inside, as I realized just how lucky I had been in my life, a strong caring loving father, a boy who loved me just as much as I loved him, the twins, and now this little guy as well. Compared to what Carl had had I was so blessed and I hadn’t even seen it. I didn’t let go for a long time, and he just sat there against me, letting out all his years of pain…, I didn’t know at that point who needed that time more…, me or him…

“You know what…, I am beginning to see what Dale sees in you kid…”

“What…, a worthless shitbag wuss?”

“Jesus Carl, no! That’s your dad talking not me! I’m talking about a pretty special kid, who doesn’t realize just how great he is.”

I reached down and gently took his chin in my hand. I lifted his face up so I could look into his eyes as I continued…

“You are special, and I am thankful for this chance to get to know you. Yes I was pissed off, but trust me, it wasn’t about you, or at you.”

I don’t think he believed me, the doubt palpable on his face, but I forged on anyway…

“Besides, for the moment I still know Dale better than you do, and I know that whatever it was you were doing, he would be just as much at the heart of it as you were.”

“He was pretty into it…, sorry.” He said quickly as I grimaced slightly, the fear from moments before threatening to overtake him again.

“Look seriously I don’t want to know. And stop apologizing all the time…, you don’t need to fear me. In fact it hurts me to think that you do…, while you are under my care, and trust me I have no intention of ever changing that, I will never let anything happen to you…, I will protect you just like the twins, to my dying breath…, you know what I did for a living, so you get that that is not just boasting.”

“Thanks Cam.” He said, as he rested his head back on my chest.

“I’m not your dad, and I never will be, but I hope that I am your friend. You’re not quite there yet, but I can see you holding just as much of a place in my heart as the boys do. I want you to know that you can come to me anytime with anything…, ok? I am there for you Carl…, always.”

He didn’t say anything, but then he didn’t have to. All he did was hold me a little tighter, and in that moment, conveyed more than mere words. It was going to be a long road ahead, but I was ready for it, I think he was too. We sat for a little longer just watching and listening to the waves as they rhythmically crashed against the beach.

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Written by bigct/Octavius

November 23, 2009 at 15:25

7 Responses

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  1. Lovely! Just lovey. Thanks for another wonderful visit with Cam and the boys.

    Biki

    November 23, 2009 at 18:26

  2. Mind candy , yep …. more mind candy…… man now I am addicted to another story … lol way to go ….. Love it ….. taps feet … oh I so not going to like waiting …. lol Thanks … Just

    justolefriend

    November 26, 2009 at 05:00

  3. Sweet CT!

    cody

    January 9, 2010 at 20:49

  4. As usual this is borderline Brilliancy. I don’t always agree with Cam’s way of looking at or responding to the situation but it sure takes you over in a hurry. I particularly liked the thought conversation with his dad.

    Tom

    January 23, 2010 at 17:04

  5. This one confused me….. I really don’t understand what happened.

    Jamie

    March 24, 2010 at 20:39

  6. CT, another winner…loved the visceral ‘warp & woof” of this storyline. You are gifted: thanks for sharing. Vern

    Vern

    July 9, 2011 at 04:04

  7. OH the second time is SO good! I love remembering your words!

    Beach

    May 4, 2012 at 19:58


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